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Food and tobacco processing workers operate equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients used in the manufacturing of food and tobacco products.Duties
Food and tobacco processing workers typically do the following:
Food and tobacco processing workers often have different duties depending on the type of machinery they use or goods they process.
Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders operate machines that produce roasted, baked, or dried food or tobacco products. For example, dryers of fruits and vegetables operate machines that produce raisins, prunes, or other dehydrated foods. Tobacco roasters tend machines that cure tobacco for wholesale distribution to cigarette manufacturers and other makers of tobacco products. Others, such as coffee roasters, follow recipes and tend machines to produce standard or specialty coffees.
Food batchmakers typically work in facilities that produce baked goods, pasta, and tortillas. Workers mix ingredients to make dough, load and unload ovens, operate pasta extruders, and perform tasks specific to large-scale commercial baking. Some workers are identified by the type of food they produce. For example, those who prepare cheese are known as cheese makers and those who make candy are known as candy makers.
Food cooking machine operators and tenders operate or tend cooking equipment to prepare food products. For example, workers who preserve and can fruits and vegetables usually operate equipment to cook and preserve their products.
Potato and corn chip manufacturing workers operate baking and frying equipment. Sugar and confectionary manufacturers use equipment that blends, heats, coats, and packages candies, chocolates, or other sweets.
Other workers operate machines that mix spices, mill grains, or extract oil from seeds.
There are no formal education requirements for some food and tobacco processing workers. However, food batchmakers and food cooking machine operators typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Food and tobacco processing workers learn their skills through on-the-job training.Education
Food batchmakers and food cooking machine operators typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Because workers often adjust the quantity of ingredients that go into a mix, basic math and reading skills are considered helpful.Training
Food and tobacco processing workers learn on the job. Training may last from a few weeks to a few months. During training, workers learn health and safety rules related to the type of food or tobacco that they process. Training also involves learning how to operate specific equipment, following safety procedures, and reporting equipment malfunctions.
Experienced workers typically show trainees how to properly use and care for equipment.Important Qualities
Coordination. Food and tobacco processing workers must be quick and have good hand-eye coordination to keep up with the assembly line.
Detail oriented. Workers must be able to detect small changes in they quality or quantity of food products. They must also closely follow health and safety standards to avoid food contamination and injury.
Physical stamina. Workers stand on their feet for long periods as they tend machines and monitor the production process.
Physical strength. Food and tobacco processing workers should be strong enough to lift or move heavy boxes of ingredients, which often can weigh up to 50 pounds.